I’ve been actively working to change my drinking habits for six months now. By measuring, counting, and tracking my drinks, I now have a six month record of my own behavior, which gives me some pretty useful data. It looks like this:
February: 0 drinking days, 0 drinks, 0 reds
March: 9 drinking days, ~40 drinks, 7 reds
April: 9 drinking days, 22.5 drinks, 2 reds
May: 12 drinking days, 28 drinks, 1 red
June: 8 drinking days, 25.5 drinks, 3 reds
July: 6 drinking days, 10.5 drinks, 0 reds
As you can see, my behavior has actually been pretty consistent throughout. This goes back to what I wrote about “faking it” — I can’t control my feelings, but I have been (mostly) able to control my actions. That’s part of what moderation means to me: learning real, practical skills that let me consistently translate intent into action, so that I don’t get sidetracked by all the other fuzz in my head. And learning to get comfortable with “mostly,” because I’m far from perfect, even when it comes to following my own rules.
My emotions finally caught up in late June, when things started feeling pretty easy. Other things that changed in late June are that I evaluated my progress and made some changes. I stopped drinking at home (mostly), made a mental note to avoid mixed drinks (mostly) and adopted a July mini challenge of a strictly BTB 30. Those changes seem to have had a direct impact on my behavior, as seen by the lower counts for July.
Looking at my numbers above, I can see that I will probably continue to have occasional red days, where I drink above recommended limits. I would like to see these days become somewhat less frequent over time as I continue to make minor, sustainable adjustments. Learning ways to allow myself to be imperfect, while still making progress, has been healthy for me in an uncountable number of ways.
Overall, I am really very proud of myself.